There is something to be said...
There is something to be said for aftermarket Mopar parts. Jim Ball is another satisfied customer with his mail-order muscle. The LA 360 motor advertises a healthy 380 ponies out of the box, making this a true turnkey cruiser.
Pulled from his brother's...
Pulled from his brother's '40 Willys, these American Racing rims are a perfect addition to Jim's Super Stock small-block '66.
Upon ditching the lazy Slant...
Upon ditching the lazy Slant Six, a factory V-8 K-frame was installed, along with aftermarket disc brakes, lines, and master cylinder. Notice the turn buckle and short length of chain to tether the plant down; old-school is alive and well.
Given the small-block Super...
Given the small-block Super Stock theme, the interior was made to look as plain and frills-free as possible.
A broadside collision put...
A broadside collision put this Coronet in storage for over twenty years. Thankfully, the motorcyclist who punched this hole survived the hit.
In the late '60s, stripper cars with no frills and big power appealed to the true racers. These were street cars ordered from the dealership with a minimal amount of bells and whistles. Would-be street racers would custom order Dodge B-Bodies with manual windows and steering, the least amount of interior trim available, and delete the A/C, heater, and radio to shave precious pounds for the sake of a lower race weight. Super Stock Hemi cars were birthed from this trend of enthusiasts looking for the closest thing to a factory-built race car from the dealership. and that is why enthusiasts and hobbyists today still continue to emulate this same spirit in their cars.
Jim Ball from Gahanna, Ohio, is one of those enthusiasts. The owner of several Mopars, including a '64 Plymouth, a '65 Dodge, a '67 Dart, and a '64 Dodge station wagon, the Ohio car salesman has a taste for mid-'60s metal. When Mel Enders, a friend of his, purchased this Coronet from the original owner's son, Jim had a genuine interest in acquiring the car.
The original owner who walked into a great lakes dealership in 1966 wanted something affordable, dependable, and frills-free. What she got was a six-cylinder-powered, automatic-shifted, two-door post Dodge with rubber floor mats, no radio, no air conditioning, and manual steering and windows. Exterior trim was nearly nonexistent, and the bench seats were wrapped in the most basic of materials. Since Mel was more interested in purchasing a Satellite from that same year the Dodge didn't last long before he sold it to Jim.
Unfortunately, twenty years before Mel purchased it, the '66 Dodge suffered a broadside collision with a motorcycle, which damaged the driver's door and quarter-panel. Because of the extensive damage, the Dodge was stored rather than repaired.
Once Jim took possession of the Coronet, the first thing to go was the Slant Six. Hoisting out the original 37,000-mile powerplant, Jim trailered the Dodge to Don Bender Racer Cars to have a V-8 K-member and disc-brake conversion installed. New brake lines and a master cylinder were also installed to help bring the hefty B-Body to a stop.
Since the damage from the accident was going to be difficult to repair, Jim sent the Coronet to the metal masters at DeVuono's Body Shop in Obetz, Ohio. Dedicating nearly six months to the bodywork, the crew at DeVuono's replaced the wrinkled quarter-panel and twisted door panel with all new sheetmetal. The body was then returned to its former glory with a coat of factory-original light blue thanks to DuPont.
Once the paint cured, the Coronet was taken to Gary Ball Interiors, who stitched up new factory-style door panels and seat covers. Due to the originality of the car, many components of the interior were preserved-the dash and headliner, along with what little interior trim that came from the assembly line in 1966. a small period-correct tachometer rests off to the side of the steering column to read the revs made by the mail-order motor.
Jim wanted reliability, but with more power than he knew the little six-cylinder could regularly put out, so he ordered an LA 360 crate engine from his local Mopar Performance dealer. With 380 horses on tap, the small-block was lowered onto the replacement K-frame and topped with a single-plane intake and Edelbrock carburetor. Filled with street friendly 9:1 compression pistons and fed by a roller camshaft, the iron-headed plant breathes through high swirl-ported Magnum heads. TTI headers and exhaust plumb the fumes all the way out the back of the B-Body with a deep, healthy growl.
Jim purposely kept the Coronet looking sleek, clean, and stock. Powered by a small-block that puts out as much punch as Super Commando 440s of yesteryear, Jim chose to keep the excess trim off the outside of the Dodge and placed a pair of American Racing mags up front (pilfered from his brother's '40 Willys that he raced nearly 30 years ago). With color-matched steel rims in the back, the Coronet looks the part of a mean machine Super Stocker. The 8-3/4 rides on Super Stock leaf springs and spins a highway cruiser 3.23 Sure Grip able to wind up the potent small-block either on the street or on the freeways.
It took only seven months from the time he bought it from his pal Mel to the end result you see here, making this one of the fastest rags-to-rod stories we've seen.